June 2, 2020

Facts & Figures from Old Lyme EMS; Who Does What at a Vehicle Accident Scene, Managing the COVID Crisis in Old Lyme

CategoryJanuary 2020February 2020March 2020
Falls6176
Pain/sickness131319
Traumatic Injury131
Diabetic011
Breathing issues149
Abdominal pain101
Chest pain751
Cardiac arrest001
CVA (stroke)010
Altered Mental Status204
Traffic accident (MVA)1794
Medical device143
Hazardous Material (HazMat)300
Stand-by000
Lift Assist100
Fire assistance for PT's130
Convulsion/seizure020
Unconscious/fainting202
Allergic reaction000
Overdose200
Psychiatric/Abnormal Behavior435
Poisoning, e.g., CO2 200
TOTALS646557

OLD LYME — Traffic accidents for the three-month period from January through March of this year totaled 30, whereas incidents involving pain/sickness increased to 45. 

We are coming out of winter and hoping traffic accidents due to inclement weather will slow down, though we will likely see an increase in traffic accidents in our area as summer approaches. Some reasons for this include: distraction from sun glare, more people (pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists) outside, teenagers home from school, and an increase in road construction projects. 

Also, as residents are aware, Old Lyme’s traffic increases significantly during the warmer months with summer residents and beach visitors. We can also expect more traffic with the near-future lifting of the Covid-19 self-isolation. 

Old Lyme Ambulances generally respond to accident scenes.

When an accident occurs on local roads, town or state police, ambulance(s) and sometimes fire trucks and apparatus will respond. In addition to service vehicles, many volunteers show up on the scene in their private vehicles to assist with numerous tasks including obtaining patient information, vitals, fetching equipment and then securely replacing it back in the ambulance before transport to the ER. 

If a paramedic arrives on scene and travels with the patient in the ambulance to the ER, then the volunteer can drive their paramedic vehicle and follow the ambulance to the ER. This way, the paramedic will have their paramedic vehicle for the next call without having to be dropped back off at the scene. There are many reasons why it’s important to have extra hands on deck.

In most cases, it is important for volunteers to arrive at the scene of the accident prior to the ambulance’s arrival. Volunteers are able to stabilize the patient, obtain invaluable information by sizing up the scene, and documenting personal information including the patient’s  medication list, vital signs, nature of the illness or injury and more. As a result, by the time the ambulance and crew arrive, much of the initial work is completed and if needed, the patient(s) can be transported to the ER sooner.

A new stretcher system facilitates moving a patient into an ambulance.

Ambulances use a siren with red and white emergency lights to inform traffic that they are on the way to a call. During an active emergency and on the way to the scene, volunteer EMTs and EMRs use green lights in their vehicles (volunteer firemen use blue lights.) Whenever you are driving and see a vehicle with these lights approaching, please move safely to the shoulder so the First Responders can get to the scene. 

All EMT’s and EMR’s carry a trauma bag with lifesaving First Responder equipment so that, when arriving on the scene, they can radio to 911 dispatch or the responding ambulance the location of the emergency, for example, if a home is not marked well or if patient is injured on a trail. Also, they will request additional services if needed, such as police, paramedic, additional ambulance, extra man power, or the LIFE STAR helicopter.  

With Covid-19 still prevalent, respiratory distress calls more than doubled in March. Chief Tom Rozanski, President Claire Haskins, Vice President Dave Musto and Deputy Chief Juan Tirado of the Old Lyme Emergency Management Services (EMS) Executive Committee have been very busy coordinating virtual meetings for emergency preparedness with town Emergency Operations Committee, chaired by Old Lyme Fire Marshal Dave Roberge. Included in the meeting are Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold, Old Lyme Selectmen Christopher Kerr and Mary Jo Nosal, Resident State Trooper Matt Weber and town officers, and Old Lyme Fire Chief Steve Super.

The Old Lyme EMS Executive Committee has also had virtual meetings with other surrounding town ambulance departments.  Due to the demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), when supplies becomes available, a volunteer quickly offers to pick them up.  Many hands lighten the load.

Old Lyme EMS thanks the residents in advance for allowing us to serve our community. If you are interested in joining, call 860-434-0089. There are always two EMT’s manning the Cross Lane building from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., unless they are responding to a call. In light of the current social distancing protocol, it is best to call about how to obtain an application.  

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